Then, insurers pass the cost on to employers. And employers, in turn, pass some or all of the cost on to employees.
It's a kind of trickle-down sales tax, according to Clare Krusing, a spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group. “So like any sales tax on anything you buy it does raise the cost of that particular service,” she says. “So we are seeing that consumers are paying more in the form of higher premiums as the result of this tax.”
And as part of the Affordable Care Act, the fees help cover others.
“The expansion of Medicaid and providing subsidies for low and middle income people to help them pay for health insurance and Congress needed to find some way to cover these costs,” according to Larry Levitt Senior V.P. of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)
Hoping to control costs, AmeriMark's president Louis Giesler, says there will be a full-court press on promoting health and wellness. Employees will have their blood pressure, weight and cholesterol checked annually, and they’ll be doing “biometric screenings” for their workers to “make them aware of some health-related challenges that they may not know about. And if those challenges exist we'll try to put tools in their hands or on their computer screens or in their mailboxes to help them better understand their situations and manage it.”
For example, some employees may have not seen a doctor recently for a wellness check. So, some workers may not realize their blood pressure is high. If a biometric screening reveals that, then Giesler the employee will take action, visiting a doctor and getting educated about the condition.
Amerimark’s workers will also be offered programs to help them quit smoking and incentives to lose weight. And, finally, AmeriMark will be asking its employees to share in paying some of these new costs.
Giesler says the company debated dropping health insurance for its employees, which would likely result in an expensive penalty, starting in 2015.
Tue, May 13 2014